Falling Into Place

Falling Into Place or Seizing the Day

Part 1

Every once in a while things do fall into place. Sometimes it may take a couple of years to get the last exclamation point on a room. I can be patient.

After 30 years in our home my husband and I decided to improve upon a built in wall unit we had built when we first moved into this house. At the time we were armed with very little budget, absolutely no skill, a hammer, a circular saw, and a borrowed level.  I had a vision.  

This would be a place that I could display things (although I had nothing to display at the time) a place to house our monster tube TV, and a window seat to hide the toys. Not to mention some desperately needed storage space. Job completed it was almost level. The doors shut when you put your hip into them.  If you didn’t look to closely and maybe squinted, it passed for an ok built in.  It has had many metamorphosis with paint over the years, (because you know, paint makes everything better) from off white in the 80’s, to Billiard Green in the 90’s and Red in the 2000’s.

I n 2014 we decided it was time to take the carcass bookcase to the next level. Better skills, more power tools, and a fondness for moldings we decided to make some improvements.  (Sorry these pictures are horrible) Working with the basic structure; it was level and plumb at least, we added new tops, made new doors and shelves. We added face molding and just all around improved on the original design. It now looks like grown ups built it. After getting a fresh coat of paint on it, I tackled the paint everywhere else and called it good.

Fast forward to February of 2016. I’m in Elkhorn, a small suburb of Omaha that has turned into kind of a mecca for artsy stuff at certain times of the month. It was a beautiful Friday afternoon and I had time between appointments, so I decided to take a drive to see if anything was going on.  No action, but in front of a shop was a pickup with a flatbed, loaded with red barn siding. Hmm, I’ve been wanting some barn siding I say to myself. Let’s check this out. He quotes me a price and I counter stating that I will have to pull all the nails. I quickly calculate in my head how many board feet I might need, having no idea how long my wall actually was, we cut a deal and he even delivered it to me.

When I get home, I tell the husband we’ve got barn siding coming. Hubby says “WHAT! —I know you have a plan.” Then he says where are we storing this barn siding. I have to think quick. Umm on the deck, said in my best sure of myself chirpy voice.  (This voice is reserved for when I haven’t got a clue!)  So at 8:00 on a Friday night in the pitch dark we are 3 ships passing in the night getting 300 board feet of barn siding to the back yard and onto the deck.

It sat there, a heaping monster of scruffy boards with nails until March. You wouldn’t want such a thing ruining your lawn after all!

On a beautiful early spring Sunday morning, I start pulling nails… I don’t even ask the husband for help, this is my deal. Each board had 86 rusty corroded nails, but one by one the mountain was becoming a pile of neatly stacked boards. There was only one problem. It was Sunday and my grandboys were coming over. They were 22 months and 4 at the time. Wondering how I was going to keep them from climbing all over this mountain of filthy lumber with rusty nails, I hatch a plan. We will teach them how to remove the nails. We spent an enjoyable afternoon pulling nails and not once did they try to climb the mountain, nor did we need a bandaid.

Neatly stacked we had to tarp it.  You don’t want your new, old barn siding to get wet! That would be terrible!  We put a tarp under it, over it and tied it off so it would be nice and dry when I was ready to start working with it.

A couple of weeks later we  are at the salvage yard.  I was looking for something for a client.  I came across this old Victorian exterior door with 2 arched windows. Well it only had one piece of painted glass not 2, the lock box had been jimmied and the wood was all broken and chewed up.

Salvaged Victorian Door
Salvaged Victorian Door

There was a whole in the door where a dead bolt had been and it had nasty pealing white lead paint. It was $43. Hmm, I think, I’m going  to buy this door, and the husband says again “what for.”  I had not been looking for a door, but I just knew it was meant to go home with me.  “We are going to make a barn door to go on the storage closet in the family room down stairs.” Chirpy voice in full swing.  Long suffering husband shakes his head and opens the hatch on the truck!

These two events are important to the evolution of this LL family room. Why you may ask! As I said I was generally happy with the family room. I wasn’t in love with the family room.

When I started out redesigning this space (EVOLUTION OF COUNTRY STYLE) There was no need to buy new furniture. This is where all my favorite antiques live.  The upholstery was fine so I had a slipcover made for the sofa and a chair recovered in 10.00 a yard canvas.

What I wasn’t in love with were the paint colors I had chosen. I had left a chair rail up and painted the lower half the same color as the bookcases like wainscoting. There was just to much distraction. I wanted the antiques to play the music.  To make it more challenging  this room is an L and the short part of the L had absolutely no architectural interest. There is a soffit in this space, which I hate but I have to live with it, so there just wasn’t a lot that could be done.

Then these two events happened and the wheels started turning. I could see how the barn siding and this door were going to drastically change the complexion of this room.

Seizing the Day

Please come back for Part 2


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